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Hip-Hop 50: Top 7 Influential Hip-Hop Artists from Los Angeles

Hip-Hop 50: Top 7 Influential Hip-Hop Artists from Los Angeles

As hip-hop turns 50, it's important to recognize the significant contributions Los Angeles-based artists had on the genre's growth. Team


2 min read

August 15, 2023

Los Angeles, the city of dreams, has long been a hub for entertainment, and it's no different when it comes to hip-hop. Over the past fifty years, L.A. has birthed some of the most iconic hip-hop artists, shaping the genre and propelling it into the mainstream. Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th year, so here's a look at seven of the most influential hip-hop artists from Los Angeles, who have not only made a mark in the industry but also influenced a whole generation.

Dr. Dre

A titan in the industry, Dr. Dre has worn many hats—producer, rapper, and entrepreneur. From his early days with N.W.A. to his solo ventures and launching the careers of many like Snoop Dogg and Eminem, Dre’s impact is immeasurable. Beats by Dre, his headphone brand, alongside countless other business ventures, has further solidified his presence beyond music.

Ice Cube

Originally a member of N.W.A., Ice Cube went on to have a successful solo career with hits like "It Was a Good Day" and "Check Yo Self". He’s also known for his outspokenness on political and social issues, making his influence felt beyond the bounds of music. Cube’s transition to acting and filmmaking, notably with the "Friday" series, demonstrated the versatility of hip-hop artists.  Ice Cube continues to be a figure in the sports world, running the Big 3 league, alongside his continued presence in both music and film.

Kendrick Lamar

Hailing from Compton, Lamar has risen to be one of the most profound and respected artists in modern hip-hop. With albums like "To Pimp a Butterfly" and "Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers," Kendrick has tackled complex issues from racial inequality to personal introspection. His Pulitzer Prize win for music, a first for a hip-hop artist, is a testament to his immense talent. He's one of the brightest stars in hip-hop and is a modern legend still in his prime.

Kendrick Lamar will go down as one of the best rappers of the 21st century due to the depth of his discography.

Tupac Shakur

Although Tupac was born in New York, his career is heavily tied to the West Coast scene and influenced an entire generation of artists. He's as integral to Los Angeles culture as the Dodgers or Hollywood. Renowned for his deep, introspective lyrics and his charismatic presence, 2Pac’s tracks like "California Love" and "Dear Mama" have left an indelible mark. He also showed remarkable passion for other artistic mediums as a budding actor and established poet. His tragic death in 1997 cut his life short. He remains an icon around the world, representative of the multifaceted creativity hip-hop can produce.

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Snoop Dogg

With his distinct voice and laid-back style, Snoop Dogg, a protégé of Dr. Dre, became a defining figure in West Coast hip-hop. Tracks like "Gin and Juice" and "Drop It Like It's Hot" are timeless hits. Snoop's cultural influence can be seen in his ventures into television, cooking shows, and even gospel music. You name it, Snoop has probably done it. He's a pop cultural legend that shows us there's no limits to what an artist can do.

Snoop Dogg is a undeniable West Coast legend.

Nipsey Hussle

A modern icon, Nipsey Hussle was more than just a rapper; he was a community activist and entrepreneur. His dedication to uplifting his community and his business acumen set him apart. Tracks like "Racks in the Middle" and "Double Up" showcased his lyrical prowess. His tragic passing was a huge loss, but his legacy of community engagement lives on. 

The Game

Bursting onto the scene in the 2000s, The Game, with his gritty lyrics and homage to the West Coast, brought a resurgence to the L.A. hip-hop scene. His debut album "The Documentary" remains a staple in hip-hop canon. His beefs, alliances, and undeniable talent have made him a central figure in the evolving story of West Coast rap.

From the raw, uncensored stories of N.W.A. to the introspective genius of Kendrick Lamar, Los Angeles has been at the forefront of hip-hop’s evolution. These seven artists, among thousands of others, have ensured L.A.'s place in the annals of hip-hop history. Through their music, activism, and influence, they have painted a vivid portrait of life in L.A. and beyond, making the City of Angels a beacon in the hip-hop world. The city will continue to have a major influence on the genre for the next 50 years.

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